Department of Energy

Green Button App Ideas

March 4, 2012

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Thinking about entering the Apps for Energy competition? Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of app ideas submitted by readers of, energy sector experts, and Energy Department employees. A big thank you to all the people who took time to submit ideas! Questions? Or do you have an idea to submit? Contact us here.

  • Help customers with variable electricity rates use less electricity during the peak demand time from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM on weekdays. Green Button data can show potential savings.
  • Help users determine the optimal size of a solar installation on their roof, and then provide information on the impact of the solar panels once they are installed.
  • Teach users something new about the impact of their energy use, using environmental data from the EPA or other agencies.
  • Let the user compare their usage and household profile to data provided by the Energy Information Administration, or othersources. The Residential Energy Consumption Survey might be a good place tostart!
  • The classic: help utility customers save money on their electricity bill. Apps that help users make a home energy efficiency plan exist, but can you take it to the next level? What can Green Button data add to this model?
  • Don’t forget about commercial customers, as they often have higher energy costs than residential customers.
  • Build a social component to the Green Button program. Help users share something interesting about their usage. Combine education, social, and plan-making for a triple threat!
  • Take a behavioral approach. Teach users about how their usage compares to their neighbors, and use that to encourage efficiency.
  • Help building owners verify the savings from energy efficiency investments.
  • Build a tool to help with organizing solar and energy efficiency financing.
  • Ask your local government and organizations about what apps they need.
  • Plug Green Button data into an app that uses a building energy model. NREL has several models that are free to use.
  • Build an app for people who both have Green Button data and an electric vehicle. When is the best time to charge your car?
  • Use the Green Button interval data and responses from the user to break down electricity usage into component parts.
  • Build an app that explores base energy use in a house: how energy does a home use when nobody’s home?

Hopefully this list will help you get started!